Initial look at CSB17

I have reviewed the HCSB over the past 4+ years. I have anticipated the update to HCSB for the past year. Holman recently published online the update to the HCSB translation, now renamed as CSB (Christian Standard Bible). Printed versions are due out this month.  I have not received a preview copy CSB17, so this comparison is based on the electronic version. I am comparing CSB, ESV, and NET. The reason I used NET as it seems very close in purpose and translation style to CSB.

This is a first step in evaluating Christian as a translation. I am looking at specific verses to see how it translates words/phrases. Further study will focus on readability and oral comprehension.

John 3:16

John 3:16

The traditional (ESV/NAS/NKJV) translation of οὕτως as “so.” CSB and NET (and GW) translate the Greek word as “in this way” or “this is the way.” There is debate about which is the better way to translate. Note how each translation handles the same Greek word οὕτως, in John 21:1. ESV seems inconsistent in its translation.

1 John 1:9


The key translation issue is how to translate the Greek word, ἵνα. Here is the NET note regarding this:

The ἵνα (hina) followed by the subjunctive is here equivalent to the infinitive of result, an “ecbatic” or consecutive use of ἵνα according to BDAG 477 s.v. 3 where 1 John 1:9 is listed as a specific example. The translation with participles (“forgiving, …cleansing”) conveys this idea of result.

I think it better to use the infinitive form (“to forgive … to cleanse”) because it could be infinitive of result or infinitive of purpose. The use of participles can be confusing (attendant circumstances, etc.). The NIV confuses even more, because it is no longer clear whether there are two characteristics of God (faithful and just) or four (faithful and just and forgive and cleanse).

1 Peter 3:21


The primary challenge here is how to translate (and interpret) the Greek word: ἀντίτυπος; the sense is that the first item (type) points to the second item, the greater thing (antitype). NKJV does not translate the word, but transliterates the Greek: ἀντίτυπον  as “antitype.” Here NIV is the most confusing. People read “symbolizes” and interprets this to mean that baptism is a symbol of something. However, the symbolizing goes back behind that.

baptism not symbol

And the greater thing is saving in baptism. Thus, it is not that baptism symbolizes , but rather actually does what it says, namely saves.

Much more to follow.

Author: exegete77

disciple of Jesus Christ, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, teacher, and theologian

8 thoughts on “Initial look at CSB17”

  1. it is not that baptism symbolizes , but rather actually does what it says, namely saves.
    Your quote sounds weird, can you clarify?
    I like your comparison with the translations until I got to the last sentence.


  2. No, that makes baptism a work, which it is not. It is a means (instrument or tool that God uses) by which God works saving faith, just like the Word is a means for creating faith.


  3. Okay, that’s false teaching saying that. You may not call it a work but you are doing something physically which it is a work. You are not preaching the gospel but a different one. Galatians 1:9 warns of people like you, adding works to faith. I will stop following you.


    1. So, are you implying that Peter teaches false doctrine when he writes “Baptism now saves”?

      If it involves saving, forgiving, etc. only God can do that, which is Gospel. Hence, here “baptism saves” means God does it. So also Acts 2:38-39; Acts 22:16.

      So, this is not false teaching at all. If you make baptism into something you do then it is false teaching because you are taking the place of God in saving and forgiving.


      1. Peter is not teaching false doctrine, you are misunderstanding what Peter is saying. Baptism is a picture of sozo the Greek word for save which means to rescue. The picture is found in verse 20 of the same chapter which declares that Noah already was righteous before the ark was built which saved him by making the ark float. Baptism shows that you are a follower of Jesus Christ. Baptism is for those who are already saved and through it, we are declaring our faith in Jesus.

        38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

        The verse above when taken out of the rest of scripture you can make it say that baptism saves you but that’s not the case when we do a cross-reference to Acts 10:44-47 which says, “44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. 45 All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.”46 For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, 47 “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?”

        They received the Holy Spirit before baptism, afterward to show their faith in Jesus Christ, they professed through baptizing which declares that an individual has decided to be follower Jesus.

        1 Corinthians 1:17
        17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.

        Even Paul said that he wasn’t called to baptize people, now that statement destroy’s your false teachings of works-based salvation.

        Baptism is for already saved people professing faith in Jesus, that’s it. You are making it into a works salvation even though you say that baptism isn’t works which is the most ridiculous thing that I ever heard.


  4. You write: “Baptism is a picture of sozo the Greek word for save which means to rescue.” But that is not what the verse says. It says that saving in the ark through water is a model/picture of the greater thing: saving through baptism. Baptism is not symbolizing anything (that is why the NIV translation is a very bad translation because it suggests that baptism symbolizes something.) But again that is not what Peter wrote.

    Regarding how God works salvation and forgives sins, it is God’s Word that is behind all of this: the proclaimed Word and the sacramental Word, Baptism, that God uses to create faith in a person. So proclaiming salvation through Jesus Christ is a means that God uses to create (and sustain) faith, baptizing is a means that God uses to create (and sustain faith). Note Matthew 28:19: “make disciples by teaching the Word and by baptizing. So can someone come to faith through hearing the Word? Absolutely. But that does not deny the other part.

    Note in Acts 22:16, how Paul relates his own conversion: “Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name..”

    In Greek there are three voices: active (subject does something), middle (subject does something to himself/herself), and passive (something is done to the subject). Whenever Baptism is mentioned it is in the passive, something is done to the person. Being baptized does not show something about your belief, it is rather God doing what He claims to do, save.

    But I suspect we will never settle this. So this will be the end of the conversation.


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